Politics

May Day: Abia NLC commends Gov Otti, seeks payment of gratuities 

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Comrade Okoro Ogbonnaya, the chairman of Abia State chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has used the occasion of this Workers’ Day celebration to make a case for payment of gratuities of retired civil servants in the state.

In his address read at Umuahia Township Stadium, to mark this Year’s May Day, with the Theme: “People First,” Ogbonnaya claimed that gratuity was last paid to retired civil servants in Abia State 22 years ago.

He stressed that the situation whereby gratuity is not paid on retirement has brought fears to prospective retirees in Abia civil service.

Ogbonnaya pleaded that gratuity be paid as at and when due to retirees. He was, however, full of gratitude to governor Alex Otti for living up to his election promise to clear the backlog of unpaid pension arrears for ten years and regularise monthly pension and salaries payments to pensioners and civil servants , respectively, from April this year.

The Labour leader commended Otti for his steadfastness in fulfilling his election promises and prayed him to sustain both the payments and developmental strides he has achieved within this first eleven months of his administration.

He called for closer working relationships between the NLC, TUC and government to avoid friction as well as in the quest to build the new Abia of our dream and a robust Abia economy.

“Your developmental strides are in unprecedented as evidenced in Aba, Umuahia and infrastructures in other localities of Abia. One can now call Umuahia- the state capital of Abia. One can also boldly say, I come from Abia State,” he said.

Ogbonnaya drew the attention of government to unpaid salaries and entitlements of some MDAs in the state as well as some parastatals whose retirees he said have not been paid their pension entitlements, since December, 2023, bacause they have not been verified.

He pleaded with the governor to look into their cases, with the aim of paying their pension rites.

He also pleaded with governor Otti to implement the N35,000 Wage Award already approved by the federal government for workers.

In his response, governor Otti assured that by the next 2025 Workers DAY, most of the problems and issues raised in the Labour chairman’s address, would have been met.

Speaking to the theme, “Workers as Agents of development and transformation,” Governor Otti stated that his policy is to give priority to the problems of the workforce.

He said the backlog of unpaid salaries, pensions and entitlements were owed by previous administrations in Abia.

Otti said as soon as the federal government makes pronouncements on salary increase, that he would not only implement the directive, but backdate it and pay arrears.

“Our plan is to expand the productive sectors of the state economy and create the enabling environments for business to thrive, so as to make the impacts we are aiming at,” he said.

” I will look into the Wage Award and implement it expeditiously”.

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